Samsung Galaxy S23 FE missed Unpacked, but it could be arriving soon

Leak-based renders of the Samsung Galaxy S23 FE
(Image credit: OnLeaks/SmartPrix)

The smoke may not have cleared yet from the launch of the Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Galaxy Z Flip 5, but Samsung could have another phone arriving shortly. And it's being positioned as a less expensive version of one of the phone maker's flagship handsets.

That would be the Galaxy S23 FE, which had been rumored to show up sometime in the second half of this year. In fact, some observers thought the S23 FE might show up at Galaxy Unpacked 2023 alongside Samsung's new foldables. That didn't happen, but a Samsung executive seems to be indicating that a launch is forthcoming.

Specifically, Justin Hume, vice-president of mobile for Samsung South Africa, spoke to Android Authority and responded positively when the publication asked him if there was "an FE-sized gap" between the Galaxy S23 and midrange Galaxy A54.

“There is an FE-sized gap in there, right now,” Hume replied. “There is going to be an announcement made. Imminently.”

That's not exactly a confirmation of the Galaxy S23 FE's existence. But it's not really a denial either. And given the fact that the phone has shown up in regulatory filings in China, the Galaxy S23 FE seems like more of a reality than ever before.

The return of the FE

Samsung last released an FE model for the Galaxy S21 lineup, with the Galaxy S21 FE shipping just before the arrival of the Galaxy S22 in 2022. That short launch window coupled with just a $100 price gap between the S21 FE and S22 may have contributed to the lackluster reception for the lower-cost flagship. Samsung ended up skipping a Galaxy S22 FE release entirely.

But there's certainly a bigger price gap in the current Samsung phone lineup. The Galaxy S23 starts at $799 while the Galaxy A54 costs $429. That's a wide enough space for Samsung to slot in a phone that's a little bit more fully-featured than the A54 while lacking some of the premium capabilities of the Galaxy S23.

One of the features that could be sacrificed from the Galaxy S23 is a high-end chipset. Instead of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that powers the rest of the S23 lineup, some rumors have pointed to the Galaxy S23 FE using an Exynos 2200 chip. Leaked benchmarks raised the possibility that the S23 FE might use an older Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset — the same silicon that powered the Galaxy S22.

Other Galaxy S23 FE rumors have claimed the new phone would feature a 50MP main camera just like the Galaxy S23. Then again, the Galaxy A54 has a 50MP main camera of its own, so you would imagine Samsung would match that with the supposedly higher-end Galaxy S23 FE.

Galaxy S23 FE outlook

We're not entirely convinced the world is crying out for a Galaxy S23 FE, not when the Galaxy A54 is such a capable a smartphone. However, Samsung apparently feels differently if these latest comments are anything to go by. And it sounds like we'll soon find out if Samsung is right to be enthusiastic about releasing another FE.

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Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.